Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Prince: A Selection Novella, by Kiera Cass

Title: The Prince
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Year: 2013
Read: May 2013
Genre: YA-dystopian
Rating: 2.5 stars

A Mini Review for a Mini Novella:

The description says it’s 64 pages, Amazon says it’s 55—either way, it’s short. This is one of those exclusive e-book prequel/interim/alternate P.O.V. novellas (so prevalent in YA these days) published to tide readers over while waiting for the next book in a series. In my admittedly little experience with them, I have not been pleased with the results. But of course every author and every series and every book is different, and since I enjoyed the Selection quite a bit I thought I would give this one a go.

This one just wasn’t all that interesting to me. It’s told from Prince Maxon’s point of view from his 19th birthday in the weeks before the Selection happens, up through his initial meeting with America and his first interviews with all the Selection girls. I thought it would be fun to see things from Maxon’s viewpoint and to see America and the other girls who we know become fairly major characters through his eyes. And it was. Kinda. A little bit. But it just didn’t add all that much to the story overall (which I guess is okay, since these interim e-books aren’t supposed to be integral to the overall series—just like deleted scenes from a movie or something).

The most interesting things I gleaned from it are a) Maxon’s age (19, just like Aspen), and b) his father King Clarkson is a real d-bag. In The Selection I thought the king seemed kind of distant and vaguely displeased with some of Maxon’s decisions, but I never got the impression he was a complete, abusive asshole. But apparently he is! Poor Maxon.

Other than that, meh. Mostly just rehashing events we already knew about, with the new perspective not adding as much as I had hoped. America from Maxon’s point of view wasn’t all that different from the America we’ve gotten to know from reading a whole book from her perspective. One thing that was mildly interesting was seeing Celeste through Maxon’s eyes, and gaining a bit of understanding as to why he might see something in her when all of the other girls see her as a complete beeyotch. I was also relieved to see that Maxon’s thoughts in his own head are surprisingly fluid and normal, and not as awkward and stilted as his dialogue from The Selection would lead you to believe. The discrepancy between the way he speaks in his own head in this novella and the way he speaks out loud in The Selection becomes apparent in the revisitation of some of the prominent scenes from the first book, such as meeting America in the gardens. In his head he sounds completely normal, but when he gets to the point where he says the actual lines from the first book he sounds bizarre—there’s some disconnect and difficulty in integration of book 1 Maxon with novella Maxon there.

I usually reserve 2 stars for things that I really have problems with, and I didn’t have MAJOR major problems with this one, so I gave it half a star to boost it up above that level. It was just a little on the boring side. Like an empty-calorie treat to tide me over between meals. Which I guess is kind of what it was! Good thing the next book-meal just came out recently so I can move on to that. I probably couldn’t recommend paying $1.99 for this, but if it’s in your library’s e-catalogue, you already know you like the series, and you have an hour to kill, go for it.


Susan said...

I really enjoyed the Selection, but I'm not sure I want to reread the awkward scenes from his POV. On the other hand, it could be interesting to see America through Maxon's eyes. Please tell me it goes something like this:

America said, "Maxon, you're such an overprivileged jerk! Don't you know what it's like to STARVE?"

I was confused. America had a pretty awesome rack as far as I could see, and when I saw the news coverage of her arrival in pants, her hips looked nice too.

"This is just what I MEAN, Maxon! You don't even listen to people who are under you!"

I snapped out of my reverie and took a breath to focus. Rhetoric lessons had taught me a decent formula for handling hysterical women at town hall meetings: "My dear woman, I understand that you are upset, and certainly that issue is one that troubles me as well." I looked at America with the properly sincere but concerned expression I had practiced at my mirror, and started the prescribed sentences.

I only got as far as "dear." As polite as formulae were, I could tell that addressing my potential future wife as "woman" was antiquated at best, and insulting at worst.

Congratulating myself on this close escape, I was shocked to hear America interrupting me, "Maxon, ugh! I'm NOT YOUR DEAR! I AM IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER BOY!"

I had never even considered that. If such a sweet-looking girl could take such offense by my efforts to be polite, no wonder terrorists were trying to keep me from having power of this country. I could launch the country into a war with ill-chosen words.

I knew then that the only way I could improve myself to be worthy of the office of king would be to keep America, a font of knowledge concerning starvation, love and sexist language, close by me.

Alyssa L. said...

LOL. Wow. That is amazing! You should have written the prequel novella, clearly! Even this little drabble was more interesting than the actual thing... :D

Susan said...

I'll be working on Vol. 2, retelling The Elite, next week. Hahaha. The true question is whether my drabble is better than the official fanfic that is circulating among the fans. (Do I dare find the fanfic community for this series? If Austen fanfic ranks as a 10, and Pokemon fanfic a 1, what would The Selection fanfic be likely to rate?)

Alyssa L. said...

3 if we're being generous?

Alyssa L. said...

Did you read it?!

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